Souths coach Wayne Bennett says he has never questioned the effort of his squad over a patchy first 11 rounds but was relieved to see execution match that effort for an impressive 60 minutes against the Dragons on Thursday night.
With a trio of Indigenous players starring in the first game of Indigenous Round, Bennett said while he was happy the squad honoured the occasion, they shouldn't need any extra motivation.
"We all wanted to play for them here tonight, we're all proud of them and wanted to do our best for them but we didn't build it up too much," Bennett said.
"We did a thing at the team meeting yesterday but you have to get on with life. It's just a part of what we do.
"I've been really pleased with their effort, it's been their execution that's killed us. For 60 minutes tonight we absolutely nailed it and all the Indigenous boys scored the points.
"We've been patchy [this year], we've been beating ourselves a lot. The first 16 points they got, there was a bit of bad luck on one of them, some poor play from us then we settled down. If we can play most weeks like we did the last 60 tonight we won't have any problem staying in the eight."
Match Highlights: Dragons v Rabbitohs
Bennett had particular praise for five-eighth Cody Walker, who effectively played halfback as well with Adam Reynolds going off with a burner after just seven minutes, as well as off-contract hat-trick hero Alex Johnston.
"[Walker] certainly stepped right up for us but Tom Burgess I thought led the way with it and he jumped on the back of it and they all went with it and got a remarkable result," Bennett added.
"[Johnston] put himself in a position to get those tries with the intercepts so that was really good. "It's a work in progress regarding his contract, I don't think any of us want him to leave the club but we have a salary cap. We're trying to fit him in."